Wednesday, August 04, 2010

First Day

11:06 am
Hazel's in kindergarten and I am FREAKING out. How did this come so fast? She's so big. And so small. Ed went with us and we all walked her to school this morning. She waltzed down the halls in her pink dress, pink shirt, pink shoes, pink backpack and pink lunchbox, saying, "C'mon, Dad, I'll show you where my class is!" She put her lunch in the lunch cubby, hung her backpack up on her hook, sat down at her seat and started her coloring worksheet right away. I hugged her, everything looked blurry, told her I was proud of her. "Yeah, Mom, bye."I feel so jittery, can't really wrap my mind around anything except, "What's she doing now?" Forget being productive today. Surviving is the best to expect.

1:23 pm
Things are quiet. Poppy is sleeping. Ginger is having quiet time, reading cookbooks. I still have the anxious panic feeling inside. I know Hazel is only 0.7 miles away but I feel like she's been taken from me. I'm so worried. Don't ask what about, there's no telling. Just worried. I admit it's nice having the one-on-one time with Ginger. She doesn't have her playmate but there is also no fighting. And we could all stand a little more quiet love and a little less confrontation. This is prime get-things-done time but all I can do is stare out the window, wander around aimlessly, and finally sit down to type.

When we got back from Colorado, we got the letter telling who her teacher is, and the supply list. School supply shopping is now one of my most favorite things to do. Thanks to Target. And to our school being the only one in the district on the modified calendar* so we get the jump on supply selection.Yesterday we walked over to the school to meet her teachers and see her classroom. They had a scavenger hunt worksheet for her, to find things around the room like her seat, the calendar and the bathroom. That's how she knew the drill this morning. Like she'd been doing it her whole life.

And speaking of whole life, that's what we're facing here. From age 5 to 30 I lived the academic calendar (except for my mission.) Then when Hazel was born and we moved to New York my life and the seasons were my own. It's been a good 5-year run, doing what we want. But we have to stay globally competitive, don't we, so our kids go to school and we're once again slaves to the Man. Until Poppy finishes graduate school. And then I'll be old. The End.

Lots of thoughts going through my head today. Like how freaking hot and humid it is, and how we'll be walking 2.8 miles every single day for this. And how bundling up for cold weather will add a good 15 minutes on either end when that comes along. And how my life is suddenly so focused on 8:45 and 3:41. And how I have to pack her a lunch every single day. I mean, I guess she can buy sometimes but mostly I'll pack it. And that will have to be its own blog post soon because it's only the first day and I'm out of ideas. Or maybe just faint and foggy because my brain is not getting oxygen. Breathe, gotta breathe.

5:58 pm
Picking her up was a great relief. We got there on time. I was so happy to hug her. She came out smiling and immediately entered into a running report starting with, "Hi, Mom. We learned math!" and going from there. Partway home I looked in her backpack and it was missing her lunchbox so we went back for it. Her teacher told me, "Hazel had an excellent first day." But, you know. She's a kindergarten teacher.

Things were blurry on the way home but this time it was from the buckets of sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes. Hazel's hair was dripping. Even Ginger and Poppy were bright red and they were just riding in the stroller. I had brought 2 bottles of water but we guzzled them right away; tomorrow I'll bring more. Now, two hours later and in air conditioning, I'm still sticky and steamy. I think this may be a good month for two showers a day.

Last night we had a special back-to-school party/FHE. Hazel requested pizza and lemonade for dinner. Chocolate cake with vanilla icing and sprinkles for dessert: Ed gave a brief age-appropriate lesson about learning and education. And I'm so glad our overflowing recycling bin is in this picture. After dinner, dessert and lesson was the best part: blessings. I don't know if other families do this, but my father always gave us blessings before each school year and I believe they were a source of protection, strength and inspiration because school is a tricky thing, especially when you get a bit older. So Ed gave Hazel a blessing. Ginger wanted one next, even though we will have another back-to-school night for her when she starts preschool. By then I was bawling, and heck, I wanted one, too. Thanks, Ed.

So Hazel's report of the day was scattered, as I expected, but I got some choice details - lunch math (adding up and comparing who brought, who wants turkey sandwiches, who wants yogurt, etc.), two recesses, how Anthony moved to yellow on the behavior chart and has to stay in for recess tomorrow (there was much speculation over dinner about what Anthony did), and the reading of a book called Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. When we got home we had a snack and Hazel asked to watch Cars. I told her OK as long as she stays sitting up. A friend of mine warned how tired new kindergarteners are and I didn't want her to fall asleep.

So, success! She went to school. She survived. I survived. Amazing.

I can't believe we have to do it again tomorrow!

*Modified calendar is not exactly year-round school but close. We get out at the end of June, same as the rest of the district. School starts beginning of August, then there are two weeks off in October and two weeks off in March/April, prior to spring break. Two weeks off for winter break is the same as everyone else. The October and April breaks are called intersessions, and the school offers optional enrichment courses that you can pay for - this is good for kids who may be behind and need extra help catching up or just things for fun, like African dance or cooking with math. Or your kid can just take a break or your family can go on vacation in the off-season. Love that. Unfortunately the October break will always coincide with Ed's elk hunting trip, so there will have to be some negotiations on that in the future.


The Gardener said...

I can so hear her little voice tell you about learning math.

Love Ginger's face in the target picture!

Scott and Jen Driggs said...

Sounds like a great first day! I am right there with you...three weeks until Ethan goes to Kindergarten. Such a bittersweet time for sure.

Kelly said...

School started already?

I'm glad you both survived her first day! She looked beautiful and those shoes are awesome! She's got great style!

Mia said...

Oh man! You did great surviving the first day. I love her enthusiasm for school. Congratulations for both of you. Zoey goes back to school and I am hoping her being gone all day isn't as hard as it was last year. We didn't do father's blessings last year, but I think we will start that tradition this year.

ESOdhiambo said...

Tell me about her "modified" schedule. I too was startled to have read about an opening day. I wish we had all day K, but this year Lily will be in First. She had a great Kindergarten year, and I'm sure you guys will, too.

(I too was surprised at how much work K was for me. It made me wonder how my mom ever managed the paperwork for ALL 10 of us: the newsletters, requests, forms, mail, etc etc).

Emily said...

Wow. Your post made me laugh out loud and almost cry. What a big event! So does this mean you guys have year-round school? Congrats to Hazel! (And to you.)

kat said...

well, i have a good suggestion for elk hunting trip - bring the whole family to CO!! that's just a no-brainer! :)

i can't believe how early school starts. i'm freaking out that katie and alex will both be in preschool at the end of the month.

kat said...

well, i have a good suggestion for elk hunting trip - bring the whole family to CO!! that's just a no-brainer! :)

i can't believe how early school starts. i'm freaking out that katie and alex will both be in preschool at the end of the month.

Jenifuz said...

A great first day! Cayden's first day was Monday and because it's my second it wasn't as bad for me. I was just nervous about him and Ethan meeting and walking home. Did good the first day, not so good the second day! I'm so glad Hazel had a great day! I'm excited about future lunch box posts! I'm working on keeping lunch interesting and something Cayden will eat!!! I like the modified schedule. It's similar to ours but we only get 1 week in October and the usual Spring Break. We just get out the end of May instead of June!

Erin said...

Congratulations to you and Hazel for surviving the first day! It's rough--emotionally. So glad she loves it! It's entering a whole new stage of parenting, but it's awesome.

Last year a friend told me "The first day of Kindergarten was the day I met my second born". It's kinda true-- although, I missed Olivia I really enjoyed the one-on-one time I was able to spend with Sam.

Mike and Kim said...

I am so glad that Hazel loved her first day of kindergarten, and you survived your first day of kindergarten too. I will need all your survival tips in a few short weeks.

P.S. I love Hazel's cute shoes.

The LDSMommy said...

The first child's first day of kindergarten is hard on us parents! My almost-kindergartener (my youngest) starts in a month, and she's got her outfit picked: her junior kindergarten teacher gave every child a t-shirt saying "Official Kindergartener" - how can she not wear that? :) That and a cute pair of capris...and her fav Converse sneakers (that I picked up on clearance at Target)!

GR82BAMOM said...

Horray for Hazel! Math in kindergarten? Good for you! Congrats on surviving Hazel's first day of school.

-Sydney- said...

You are going to love/hate all the changes and learning that will come this year! I was blown away at how George's personality and individualism became so much more apparent as he spent more time away from home. Some things killed me (like coming home and talking about Lady GAGA!) But others brought tears to my eyes in a good way.

I'm looking forward to good lunchbox ideas! It is tricky coming up with a variety of balanced meals that are likeable, portable, and don't have to be refrigerated or reheated (though a thermos jar helps). I was getting pretty burned out by the end of last year :)

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